A sign of the (L.A.) Times: Will Dan Patrick’s legacy be ESPN, the DP Show, or PMR? His wife thinks perhaps the later
By Tom Hoffarth
In our latest Los Angeles Times sports media piece, we led Dan Patrick explain how he’s engineered a new game plan for this week.
After he finishes his syndicated sports talk radio show in Connecticut on Thursday morning — heard locally from 6-to-9 a.m. on KLAC-AM (570), DirecTV’s Audience Network and BRReport.com, he and his wife, Susan, will fly cross country to LAX. He will meet up with his daughter for a SoulCycle fitness workout. He may seek out sportscaster Jim Gray to see if he can cash in a standing invitation to play a round of golf at Riviera Country Club, where Gray is a member.
Saturday, it’s a drive to Ventura to meet for the first time with a renowned homeopathic doctor to ask about new ways to combat polymyalgia rheumatic, an autoimmune disease that Patrick has been dealing with the last seven years.
“If you told me a year ago I’d be looking forward to working out, going golfing, seeing some alternative medicine doctor … there’s no way,” Patrick said Sunday night from his home. “But this is how far I’ve progressed.”
The 62-year-old took a leap of faith to open up on his show last Thursday about his battle with PRM, the side effects of a prescription medication that led to many dark psychological moments, and how a new chemotherapy treatment has been effective but comes with headaches and memory loss that affected his ability to do his job. Had he not done that, this week’s journey likely wouldn’t have happened.
In addition to what he told us in the Times story, here are more snippets of what Patrick said about his condition, what he’s been through, and what he hopes to do going forward:
On why he came forward on Thursday:
“I just wanted to let the audience know what’s going. I’ve been slipping a little bit and forgetting thing. I didn’t want to be laughed at. If I made a mistake, we’d be making a mistake together. That was probably the genesis for it. The more I thought about it, I wondered if I could somehow help de-stigmatize the whole depression part of it.
“When you start talking about depression and chemo, people can jump to conclusions and then it sounds like you’re paying final respects. I’ve already dealt with the worst part of this for the last six years. I just thought it was my lot in life — this was how I was always going to feel.”
The tipping point:
“It wasn’t until I visited my daughter in Vail when I went to The Stedman Clinic and met a doctor who specialized in stem cell research. He recommended me going to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, but never said anything about chemo. When I got there, they said I could inject myself, or take pills, or do an IV once a month with ‘light chemo.’ What does ‘light chemo’ mean? Is this like two-percent milk? It sounds like a marketing ploy. And even then, they said it may not work. That’s pretty powerful stuff. They said they’d know after four visits if it was working. So once a month, I went in, on a weekend. At that point, I was willing to try anything.
“One day, I woke up. No pain. My wife has asked me every day for the last seven years — How are you feeling? There’d be a variation of pain, but I’d just say I was OK. Like the flu without the nausea. But getting out of bed had been like a jolt of pain most days. So this one day, I get up. No pain. My gosh, maybe it’s working. I didn’t say anything. Second day. No pain. Third day, no pain. I called the doctor and left a message with the update. They said they thought it was working. We’ll keep trying this for 12 months and see if we can reset the immune system.
“I wasn’t going to get my wife’s hopes up, so I still didn’t say anything. This is two months ago. I haven’t told my four kids. I’m starting to get new side effects. Headaches, and memory loss. Brain fog. I could sense it while on the show.”
Why things happened Thursday AM:
“For the last seven years, I just haven’t been sleeping well. I woke up Wednesday night (Thursday morning) at 1:18 a.m. I start texting people. At 3:23 a.m. I’m texting. That’s when I said: I’m just going to say something. I won’t tell anyone in case they try to talk me out of it. The more I thought about it, if I can help one person – just one – admitting I have depression, don’t be afraid, talk to your doctor. I have this pulpit so maybe I can use it to help people. I had no idea what reaction would be.
“I told (technical producer) Seton (O’Conner) that at 9:59 a.m. I’m going to get into something a little heavy here. They knew about the condition but didn’t know about some of the dark stuff. I couldn’t look at them after awhile as I was talking about it. I explained that I’m a little wounded now in and in five months I hope to be back to normal. I don’t want people to say: Is he slipping?
“When I got home, my daughter was there, home from law school, and she started seeing things on the Internet and came down stairs and said: Why didn’t we know this? I think I was trying to shield them. But to her credit, she said: Isn’t this what you’re supposed to do, talk about it?
“As I said on the air, I’m not courageous for coming forward. I haven’t been forthcoming for a long time. This has been a long process. When my wife and I went to a St. Patrick’s Day event, I walked in and was in so much pain and hunched over people thought I was joking around. I didn’t want to go.”
How he knew the side effects of medication was making things worse on his memory:
“One day, I forget how to start my car. I went to the grocery store and wanted salad dressing, but when I got there I couldn’t remember why I went, so I came home with olives. My wife and I are having dinner with my daughter, and I couldn’t recall what we just ate.
“I’d go from the kitchen to the basement, and forget why I went there. So I’d go back to the kitchen to jog my memory. It didn’t matter. This was serious.
“I needed (producer) Paulie (Pabst) in my ear, like (Rams head coach) Sean McVay is to (quarterback) Jared Goff, reminding me of what I’d been talking about.”
On dealing with pain in the past:
“On my 60th birthday, I had a golf outing at Pebble Beach and wanted everyone to have a good time, so I was taking Vicadin to help with all the pain. There was no other solution. Can’t imagine what others go through. I kept fighting it. My brothers would finally tell me: That’s the Marine in you from our father, that you can just power through it.”